A large section of the façade of the fire-ravaged Claremont hotel in Eastbourne, East Sussex, collapsed last night, just hours after the green light was given for demolition preparatory works.
Eastbourne Borough Council said it will “continue to work closely with hotel representatives and their demolition contractor to ensure the safest procedure for dealing with the remainder of the building.”
The collapse comes after Storm Ciara brought gusts of up to 97mph to much of the country this weekend.
The Grade II*-listed property was hit by a fire in November last year, which destroyed much of the hotel, leaving the remaining structure unstable. Parts of the building have continued to collapse since the blaze, and site debris is known to be contaminated with asbestos.
Local authority officers are in the process of determining planning and listed building applications and had given the green light for owner Daish Holidays and its contractor to begin on-site preparatory work yesterday (10 February).
The cause of the fire, which spread rapidly through the Victorian building, is being investigated. All guests and staff at the 72-bedroom hotel were evacuated, with six people treated for minor injuries. At its height 12 fire crews were battling the blaze, believed to have started in the basement.
The hotel is owned by Jeanne Wilson who, according to the Daish's Holidays group website, acquired the hotel in 2013. The group comprises 10 hotels and 24 luxury coaches.